AGF Abdulrazaq: Exit of a Rare Achiever

Ganiyu Folorunsho Abdulrazaq

Apart from being a foremost legal luminary from the Northern Nigeria, the late AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdulrazaq SAN (OFR), father of Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq, paid his dues in the development of the Nigerian capital market. He rose to the enviable position of Chairman in Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange as President. He was President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange from 2000 – 2003 and Vice-President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange from 1983 – 2000. He was a member of the Capital Issues Commission from 1973 to 1978. Bamidele Famoofo writes

The exit of Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdulrazaq, former President and Chairman in Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, member of the Capital Issues Commission (CIC), and federal cabinet minister of state for transport, no doubt has created a vacuum in the nation’s economy as his wealth of experience will be missed, especially in the capital market sector.

No doubt, Abdulrazaq, an iconic lawyer, contributed immensely to the development of the capital market in Nigeria both as President of the NSE and member of the CIS. The Capital Issues Commission was established with the promulgation of the Capital Issues Commission Decree in March 1973. … The Commission had more powers to regulate and develop the Nigerian capital market, in addition to determining the prices of issues and setting the basis for allotment of securities.
Besides his contribution to the development of the capital market and by extension growth of the economy, the father of the incumbent governor of Kwara State, who was a graduate of the University of Ibadan, an outstanding legal luminary, contributed its quota in the advancement of the law profession in Nigeria. Abdulrazaq, a former Commissioner for finance, Health and Social welfare from 1967 to 1972 in Kwara, his state of origin, was a member of the Federal Parliament from 1964 to 1966 as the Federal Cabinet Minister of State for Transport. He was also a member of the International Commission of Jurists since 1959.

Alhaji Abdulrazaq, who was born on November 13, 1927, hailed from Yerimisa Compound in the Idigba Quarters of Pakata Area in Ilorin, Ilorin West local government area of kwara state.

He has been described as a complete symbol of Nigeria unity as his sojourn in life traversed all geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Born in Onitsha, the present Anambra State in South-east, had secondary education in Buguma in today’s South-south, he attended the University of Ibadan, Ibadan and lived and worked in Lagos both in the South-west, launched his legal trajectory in Kaduna and Zaria in North-west, his legal practices and political excursion propelled him to Maiduguri in the North-east where he was made the National Legal Adviser of the then Northern People’s Congress(NPC)and he hailed from Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State in the North-central.

He was among the pioneer students, who were first admitted into the Nigerian premier university, University of Ibadan. Upon completing his studies at the then University College, Ibadan, the pioneer lawyer of Northern Nigerian origin sailed to the Great Britain where he obtained master’s degree in History, post-graduate Diploma in Education and L.LB. He was eventually called to the bar in February,1955 and thereby preceding his fellow Northerners such as Mohammad Bello (1930-1998) and Mamman Nasir (born 1927) as well as Justice Buba Ardo, who were admitted into the bar some months after him. The three gentlemen eventually had distinguished careers as jurists.

Mohammed Bello was the Chief Justice of Nigeria between 1987 and 1995, Buba Ardo retired as a Supreme Court Judge while Mamman Nasir, the Galadiman Katsina and District Head of Malufashi, retired as the President of the Court of Appeal in 1992 and handed over to Justice Muhammad Mustapha Adebayo Akanbi CFR, the First Wakili of Ilorin (born 1932).

He was one of those young and educated Nigerians who confederated with the elderly Nationalists to secure independence for Nigeria in 1960. He was a Nigerian Ambassador to Cote D’Ivoire, Minister in charge of Railways in the First Republic. He was the Chairman of the Body of Benchers. He was the first National Legal Adviser of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) on the eve of the country’s independence, the position he held throughout the country’s First Republic.

The contributions of the late Abdulrazaq are many. He was a thorough nationalist who used his vast knowledge of the law as a weapon to end colonialism. He participated in several constitutional conferences within and outside Nigeria.

His performance astonished many leading nationalists of his time so well that he was seen as the engine-room of the successive Northern Nigerian delegations to those conferences. He was also the leading opposition figure to the attempt at restructuring the then Ilorin province to the Western Region. Abdulrazaq, in his youth, was a great orator, classical diplomat and outstanding intellectual who used his versed and vast knowledge and exposure for the progress of his people.

He was so successful at that that the leadership of the Yoruba-dominated western region regretted that a Yoruba-speaking man of that versatility and exposure always punctured their avowed commitment to severe Ilorin Province from the Hausa-Fulani dominated Northern Nigeria. When Alhaji Abdulrazaq observed the problem his people faced in securing secondary school admission for their children and wards, he single-handedly established the then Ilorin College, Ilorin, in I967 at Adewole Area of Ilorin. The school is now called Government High School, Ilorin, following its take-over by Kwara State government.

Another area in which Abdulrazaq creditably served included the chairman of the organising committee of the Kwara State Industrial Development Fund which was launched in Lagos in 1985. The calibre of the guests attracted to the event and the amount of money realised there-in showed the clout of the elder statesman.

Abdulrazaq’s contributions can also be seen in being the rallying figure of the people of Kwara State wherever he sojourned. When he lived in Zaria, he was a father-figure to Ilorin people. He was also the chairman of the Ilorin Emirate Development Committee in Lagos in the mid-1990s. Abdulrazaq’s participation in political mentorship and participation was also wonderful. He has served the country in several capacities since 1955 when he became a lawyer and public figure. Apart from the several appointments he held, he also contested the governorship of Kwara State in 1979 on the platform of the defunct Great Nigeria People’s Party. He was also a member of the 49 wise-men, which midwifed the Presidential system of Government in Nigeria. The calibre of the alumni of the school he established is a great plus to his attainments just as the calibre and contributions of his biological off-springs to national development.

Marriage and Family
The late Abdulrazaq was married to Alhaja Raliat, the mother of his children, who is also the first female councilor in Northern Nigeria and the first female to drive a car all-over the North of the Niger.

His outstanding children include Dr. Alimi Abdulrazaq, a national figure in politics and public administration; Hajiya Hairat Abdulqazaq-Gwadabe, who represented the Federal Capital Territory in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1999 and 2003; Alhaji Isiaka Abdulqazaq, immediate past executive director, Finance and Administration of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Alhaji Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq the Kwara State Governor.